By Valentine Obienyem
Since November 18, 2016, my principal and I have been the subjects of the acerbic pens of aides in the present Anambra State Government. It is as if they have suddenly discovered the Throne of Persia, as they boastfully write, alleging they caught me flagrante delicto [red-handed] taking pictures of an Aircraft parked at the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu and posted it online through my agents as chartered by their boss. They even added that they rescued me from airport security officials. I was also the subject of a commentary on Anambra State Broadcasting Service (ABS).
Whether Anambra State Government charters aircraft or not is not the issue in focus here. A government that met the type of money the former Governor, Mr. Peter Obi left in the treasury will be under constant temptation to leave extravagantly. Does the present Anambra Government succumb to this temptation? This is not of concern to me; my main concern is that my name was tossed recklessly as having taken pictures of the aircraft when I was neither in Enugu nor the said airport at the time in question. Despite my confirmed disclaimers, the hordes of aides serving in that government continued to move against me like antibodies gathering to attack an infection. For an administration intent on destroying me, my principal and other perceived enemies, it is curious that these aides would go out of their way to ‘rescue’ me from airport security. More revealing in their subterfuges are that neither has any Enugu airport security confirmed my ‘arrest’ nor the CCTV footage of the said date screened to indict me.
When an account of the present Anambra State Government is documented, it would be presented as a Government that introduced the use of individuals he considered as opposition to write commentaries on State Radio. He did the same with Barr. Joe-Martins Uzodike, Mr. Mac-Joe, Desmas Onwu and Oderaigbo, the renowned social media activist under the coordination of a Special Assistant, Egbuna Amuta. Egbuna had secured that appointment as a reward for producing two damaging videos on Mr. Peter Obi, which were aired on ABS and some national television networks — actions adjudged by discerning Nigerians as base in purpose and barren in result. In attacking some of the State’s best and being insensitive to shame, the administration had rendered Anambra a general butt for mockery and opprobrium. With such a recurring feature in the administration, their propaganda machinery has cranked into over-drive and caught up with them. In this day and age, it is appalling to witness ferocious outbursts of hate, misrepresentations and malice from these effete aides.
The lies they live with reminds one of the story of the wanderer, Odysseus, who could hardly speak without “lying or act without treachery”. In my earlier release ‘My Life is in Danger — Obi’s Aide Cries Out’, I stated, inter alia, that what were going on were State-sponsored falsehoods against me. I said also that “the way some of his aides even claimed to have seen me personally can only be explained on the theory that they sell dummy to the Government as a means of extorting money from her to fight imaginary enemies. I even went extra mile to clear all doubts by beckoning on God to take my life if were in Enugu that day. I also implored Him to treat my accusers according to His will”.
By choice, many of us have stayed close to Mr. Peter Obi even after he left Government. We are happy with his continued people-oriented, value-added pursuits, including his School Apostolate and sharing his experience on good governance at various fora. Yes, monetary compensation is a fact of life, but we have gained more than money. When one of his Commissioners, a lecturer in a State University, Dr. Patrick Obi applied to join a Federal University, the interview panel told him that to have served with Mr. Peter Obi was enough testament to his qualification to work in any institution in the world. He secured the job. In small business I am engaged in, many of his friends in commerce & industry have granted me generous credit facilities, simply because I am associated with him.
Virtually all the negative publications about the former Governor, Mr. Peter Obi are procured and sponsored – paid by the Anambra State Government. Each time Obi’s popularity which has remained high threatens to burst at the seams, they respond with panicky, contrived falsehoods. Mr. Obi’s inspiring presentation at the 2016 edition of The Platform and the subsequent mentoring to the youth in Enugu so much ruffled feathers in Government House, Awka that the former Governor was again subtly cautioned to stop attending functions and visiting schools in Anambra State.
Many people of goodwill have wondered and asked why Anambra Government is so hostile to Mr. Peter Obi. Here is a man of substance, even to his enemies –solid with experience, exposure and practical statesmanship. Anybody that is not happy to be associated with him must be a misogamist.
On becoming the Governor, Peter Obi realized that the dog that buried the bone; the squirrel that gathered nuts for a later feast; the bees that filled the comb with honey; the ants that laid up stores for a rainy day, were among the precursors of savings. It was these creatures that taught man the wisdom of providing for tomorrow out of the surplus of today. Obi practised this very effectively by creating that surplus through pruning the cost of governance, and was able to save over N75 billion for the State. His US Dollar savings, going by current exchange rate, is valued at over N185 Billion. The SAB Miller project Anambra State Government invested in under him has remitted over N300 million in dividends to the State this year alone. Interestingly, the huge savings were matched with tremendous achievements in all critical sectors with the instrumentalities of the acclaimed Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS).
Who is so indolent as not to wish to understand what formulae of governance that Obi applied in 8 years to restore the glory of Anambra State – a thing unique in history? Those inviting him to talk to them recognize his worth and utility. Many are eager to tap from his experience and replicate in their realm what he did in Anambra State.
All over the world, it is the ideas of great men that rule the world. If you appeal to history, you will discover that the great Ashoka of India built his empire on the ideas of Buddha as Lenin built his with those of Karl Marx. Likewise, people like Rousseau, John Stuart Mill and John Locke gave powerful inspiration to democratic revolutions in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. On the negative pull, Hitler modelled his Third Reich after Nietzsche’s lunatic visions. Peter Obi performed very well for Anambra State and his model has been acknowledged as the best template for States. Indeed, Professor Paul Collier of Oxford University, UK was engaged by the World Bank to study some of the things Obi did to achieve rounded success. It is disheartening that his successor seeks to vilify Peter Obi rather than pursue good governance for the people of Anambra State.
In the eyes of his traducers, Peter Obi’s great weakness is that he does not believe in fighting dirty. If they are discerning, they need not look far to know that his guiding ethics are the fear of God, due process and evidence-based performance.
–Obienyem wrote this piece from Lagos